For many import car enthusiasts the R33 Skyline is still one of the most beautiful machines ever produced. Even as new models of cars are developed and older ones are updated, the clean lines and unique design elements of Skylines continue to make them stand out from most other cars on the road.
Eric (wasuber) had wanted an R33 for years and when the opportunity came to own one nearly 4 years ago he had to jump on it. His first priority on the build was to focus on performance rather than try to change its appearance – something he was already happy with. This is why aside from a set of Volk Racing CE28N's and Tein RS coilovers, the rest of the exterior remains the same as it was when it rolled off of the assembly line in Japan.
Photos by Matt Haugness and Ryan Cutuli. Article by Matt Haugness.
Unfortunately, car ownership can sometimes be a bumpy road. Not soon after buying the car did it start to have issues. The engine was originally built by the previous owner who cut corners in its assembly. This meant that the engine was a ticking time bomb. The engine eventually blew and it was at this point Eric committed to rebuilding it properly using some of the best parts available for the RB26 engine.
Since Eric was starting over, he opted for an N1 block with an HKS piston kit. Instead of going the single turbo route, he decided to stick with twin polished HKS GT2835's. An Infiniti Q45 throttle body was fitted to the otherwise stock intake manifold. He chose HKS 272/260 cams for his latest build which were installed in a custom ported HKS Step II head. Just to be safe, he decided to run an AEM water/methanol injection system to keep intake air temperatures lower (to reduce the chances of detonation).
Even though Eric has some of the best JDM parts installed on his Skyline, one of his favorite modifications is the custom oil cooler setup developed by Ray at Garage Autohero. Since the car is equipped with a 4" deep HKS-R four row intercooler, the space for a standard GReddy/Trust oil cooler was limited. They had to reinvent the wheel and by using GReddy/Trust components along with Earls fittings they accomplished their goal. "We went a completely different route than most oil cooler setups. It's one of those modifications you have to see to understand" Eric says.
In its current state, the car produces 597 WHP with 21 psi of boost. Eric anticipates that it will make more power when he takes the car to John Reed at PSI. Since his current tune is so conservative and on paper his build should produce more power, he's confident that it will with a more aggressive tune.
Eric's plans for the future are to install a Nismo 400R aero kit and get the entire car re-sprayed a new color. Once the car has been tuned again, he also plans on doing some lapping days and more drag racing. At this point he has no plans of installing a roll bar which means that his passes at the drag strip will most likely be limited to 11.5 seconds. With only one pass, the best he's done so far is a 12.2 second quarter mile at 119 MPH. This was on low boost and with a 2.108 60' time.
Eric would like to thank the following people for all of their help with his build: Tim Hatfield at F.A.M.E.in Redmond, WA, Ray Stonehocker at Garage Autohero, Chris at FRSport.com, Adam at Feast, Naser Kamel at Pride Performance, and Sean Morris (aka The GT-R Skyline Guru).
Fully built RB26:
N1 engine block
Polished and balanced OEM crank
Carrillo connecting rods
HKS piston kit
HKS Step II head with custom porting
Tomei beryllium exhaust valve seats
HKS 272/260 cams
HKS cam gears
Tomei head gasket
JUN oil pump
Custom OEM intake with single Q45 TB with AEM methanol injection system
Injector Dynamics 1000cc injectors
HKS fuel rail
Twin polished HKS GT2835 turbochargers
HKS-R 4 inch 4 row racing intercooler
HKS 3.5" downpipes
HKS 4" 1 piece titanium exhaust
Garage Autohero custom test pipe
Garage Autohero oil cooler system (Earls and Greddy/Trust parts)
HKS ignition amp with customized HKS plug and play harness
Nismo twin plate clutch with upgraded pressure (good for 675 ft-lbs torque)
Tomei timing belt
AEM standalone ECU
AEM CAS upgrade
ATI 600+ damper
Defi wideband/boost gauges
Blitz boost controller
OEM turbo timer
TEIN RS coils
Volk Racing CE28's 19×10.5 +12
Bridgestone RE706 275/30/19